We go again, again. Again.

20 Mar

Anybody else bored of this drivel? (😉). Wow. That was frustratingly grim. Fair play to 10 man Blackburn Rovers for taking their chance and winning the game but Brentford are now, officially, in trouble after head(less?) coach Dean Smith was forced to admit we were in a relegation battle. A 1-0 win for the visitors, following a late strike from Shane Duffy, made it 7(seven) losses from 8 for the Bees and sees us down to 18th – just six points off the relegation places.

This is a relegation scrap, isn’t it?” asked BBC Billy Reeves in a post match interview that you can hear in full here. With Brentford now in to 33/1 to go down from 150/1 last weekend, Dean had no choice but to acknowledge : “It is at the moment, because we can’t seem to find a win even when we’re well on top in games and teams are down to ten men“.

There is now a break of two weeks until we go again and that will be a long time for us all to sweat on where the next points are going to come from. Yet again, we were party to a demonstration that holding on to the ball counts for nothing. Despite seeing 66% possession and having a man advantage for over a third of the game following the dismissal of Grant Hanley for a second bookable offence, Brentford failed to find the back of the net. Again.

Blackburn offered little yet despite plenty of grunt and teasing around the edge of the box, there was a distinct lack of penetration from the Bees. A couple of shots from distance aside, Alan Judge coming closest at the death, we were impotent. We should have taken advantage and, certainly, still had enough class players out there but we failed again. Instead, there were too many individuals playing for themself rather than trying the pass to release a team mate.

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View from the Braemar – Alan Judge had our closest effort once more

So is it the managerial/coaching set up or the players? Has the loss of Jota, Tarkowski and Toumani been the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why can’t we look like being even close to troubling a goalkeeper on any more than an occasional basis? Is Dean Smith displaying inspirational skills learned at the Leroy Rosenior school of motivational management? Or is something else going on behind the scenes to upset the vibe?

I wish I knew the answers but something isn’t right. Lee Carsley had the vast majority of these players firing on all cylinders during his brief stint at the helm but yesterday was yet another damp squib. The only positive to be taken out of it was the return to action of Scott Hogan who received a heroes ovation, coming on to the pitch for the final quarter hour.

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He’s back !!

John Swift missed proceedings, something that Dean confirmed to Billy was down to the player’s inappropriate use of social media the day before.

Whilst he hadn’t been due to start, the England U-21’s decision to post a somewhat questionable meme saw him axed even from the bench. Featuring what Billy described as, “A picture of a smiling hipster” you can understand why some people might have been upset.

And just to be clear, that’s due to the wording rather than mention of hipsters or just choosing to use a meme – the lowest of all art forms. Then again, I still cringe over Brentford ‘official’s’ Obama dig at Fulham last season. Let’s hope that won’t come back to haunt us.

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No excuse for hipsters or memes, regardless of content

Coming in a week that has seen the players stage their own meeting and the reaction to the QPR debacle described as “Phenomenal” (maybe, in retrospect, we need to revisit the dictionary) this was a disciplinary decision Dean could have done without. Swift of all players probably had to prove a few doubters wrong after the QPR no show. Yet despite this midweek positivity in the squad that we’d been told about, the player has put himself in a position where Dean has felt compelled to show who wears the trousers.

Brentford official would later describe the result as Blackburn stealing the points. As one Braemar road debutant would later put it, “How do you steal if it’s a gift?”

It was a tame surrender of an advantageous position and is fast leaving Dean Smith with a worse record than Atomic Kitten’s Greatest Hits.

And I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

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We were robbed. Sure

Nick Bruzon

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20 Responses to “We go again, again. Again.”

  1. John March 20, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    What on earth has happened to our great team from last year. We over achieved clearly but apart from October to December we have been Pants!! I fear the Fulham game, which at one time I thought would see us sending them down, will now see them coming and sending us down…at least they have 2 stickers who could play at a higher level. We probably need 2 wins….can we beat Bolton??…if we don’t then I think we will be down!!, although the MK Dons game might be the decider?!

  2. Rob March 20, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    We really should have defended the free kick that they scored from better. It wasnt a good set piece and the first header should have cleared the danger….
    How many times have i said we can’t as a collective, head the ball? I’ve said it first, tongue in cheek, but i will say it again, we need a header coach cos none of them (Barbet’s goal against Charlton aside) can’t seem to win an aerial battle. That’s one statistic I’d like to see on paper.

  3. Gordonbankole March 20, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    That was as poor a game as I have seen in a long while at Brentford. We have got to the stage where we let in too many goals, fail to score enough while also lacking fight and creativity in midfield (just look at the stats from the start of this horrendous run if you want justification for the first two aspects). It’s a pretty toxic combination all in all and unless we get a couple of last-minute loanees in this week to provide the miracle cure, I can only see one outcome.

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) March 20, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    I felt angry yesterday, after all the soul-searching & players meeting. Talk of we will do better and lessons have been learnt, that we put in such an utterly dreadful performance.

    I felt angry yesterday, that after signing Leandro Rodriguez, we place this talented player up front on his own. A role he has only played in once before in an Everton U21 game against Sunderland in September, and within 2 days of joining the club expect him to lead the line by himself and produce the goods.

    I felt angry yesterday that despite the evidence that Leandro thrives on getting on the end of crosses, particularly from the right, something that Dean even admitted to, that we failed to get any worthy cross into him, and more than once found himself like a lost boy out on the wing waiting for the ball.

    I felt angry yesterday that barely anyone seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing, couldnt communicate to each other, and ended up bawling each other out…Harlee & Button.

    I felt angry yesterday that there seemed to be no coherent plan, and it ended up looking like kids football. Playing as individuals rather than a team.

    I felt angry yesterday that after failure after failure this year, we continue to do exactly the same thing, have exactly the same tactics. Anyone but anyone knows that when things are failing badly, you change things.

    I felt angry yesterday that the DoF’s have failed yet again to bring in a head coach who is clearly out of his depth. Dean only knows how to play one way, something that Walsall supporters warned us about in January, and is frightened to change to a way he is unfamiliar with. He clearly lacks the ability to motivate the players to play as a team or coherently. Has no idea what his best side is or how to get the best out of them. It was extremely telling that George Evans, a player who worked with him at Walsall, decided not to join his own boss but preferred to sit in the stands at the Madejski. That spoke volumes to me!

    I felt angry yesterday knowing that this club WILL be relegated this season. I cannot see where we are going to get even a point from. But Ill be still be there cheering them on, wiping the slate clean from kick off, and trying to go again, but I just cannot see us getting out of this.

    There, I have let my anger out. Sorry. Carry on & enjoy your Sunday everyone

  5. RebelBee March 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Good stuff from the posters above – great summary Bernard. We now have 2 weeks to put something together and to try to save ourselves, I hope calls are being made right now in order to find someone willng to come in to do a short term stint and get us out of the plop – is Red Adair still around? I’d try Mr Carsley for starters. I’m convinced that if we stick with the current coach and don’t add a couple of experienced battlers we are gone.

  6. New Road correspondent March 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m not privy to what goes on in training or inside the club and am not an ITK, so am calling this how I see it based on match day performances. This is going to be a long post.

    The positive that I took from yesterday is that the players put more into their game and definitely care about the situation. The shouting at each other after poor play shows that. Alan McCormack demonstrated strong leadership in trying to get players organised and playing for the team unit. I also noticed Sam Saunders giving Leandro Rodríguez encouragement on more than one occasion, which is good. However, it should not need a players’ meeting driven by the senior squad members to motivate this team to do better. That falls squarely and directly on the coaching staff. I don’t see anything coming from the bench in terms of motivation or substitutions that could change the game, and the outcome of the match remained the same.

    Even fighting against a referee who was awful for both teams, Brentford failed yet again to overcome Blackburn’s cycnicism in the tackle and blocking of crosses with hands, and close a game out. Playing against 10 men is generally harder because teams compact the space between defence and midfield and try to hold on for a point. This was plain to see yesterday, with Brentford essentially coming up against an 8-0-1 formation for the last half hour and most of the play down at the home end. So the players need strong motivation in training and on the pitch to generate the self-belief that gives them that 1% extra edge, aka the marginal gains that our dear Directors of Football highlight as the things that are within their control and can influence the randomness of football in our team’s favour. This extra motivation was most clear to see during Lee Carsley’s stint in charge. He was largely dealing with the same level of injuries as Marinus Dijkhuizen, but got them to play at a level approaching that seen last season, even with many of the better players having been (out of financial necessity) sold. This work almost immediately fell apart on the appointment of Dean Smith. I don’t know what Smith says and does in training, but it simply isn’t cutting it. The confidence has clearly fallen out of the bottom of the squad and one massive way to not motivate your squad of players is to tell the press that things will be better once you get a few loanees in! A minor point also worth noting is that Smith doesn’t bother to acknowledge the fans after a loss. He trudges off towards the exit, hands in pockets, head down. There are around 9,000 paying Brentford fans who turn up to every home game and have just been served up another helping of slop. The least he could do is acknowledge that we’ve made the effort and by extension show that he’s capable of turning this around with some positive attitude. His recent interviews look and sound like a man waiting for the axe to fall. At any other club in the division (Charlton notwithstanding), I believe it would have already happened.

    The choice of tactics against QPR was absolute madness. Smith said he wanted to get McCormack into the side so pushed our most likely goalscorer, Alan Judge, into a striker position. Judge isn’t a striker, we all know that. What our lone front men have needed is a player closer to them to knock the ball to and break free to receive again closer to goal. Believe it or not, goalscoring isn’t as much of a problem as many make out, we’ve scored as many as Middlesbrough (ranked joint 9th) and are also ranked 9th in shots taken per game. The big problem is at the other end of the pitch, with too many shots being faced (ranked 17th on per game average), and these lead to goals conceded (ranked 20th in total) and it’s been obvious the whole season that we’ve needed someone to break down opposition play. Jonathan Douglas, for all his other shortcomings, often did this last season and a tough-tackling direct replacement to mop up below the centre circle was an absolute must after Dijkhuizen had decided he wasn’t going to be part of future plans. Toumani Diagouraga generally had a similar play style for us and allowing him to leave mid-season on the cheap was a bizarre decision, but perhaps he decided he didn’t want to play for Smith, and given the last few months, I can see why. And thus, we end up with the job falling to McCormack, who has done a great job and overperformed in the role when called upon, but probably won’t be a part of the squad next season if we have ambition to be promoted. From the Championship, that is. The most obvious way to get McCormack into the team and protect the defence is to leave the underperforming Josh McEachran out. Josh mills about the centre circle, largely passing backwards and sideways when the ball happens to arrive at his feet, rarely making anything approaching a tackle that a first team player would be proud of. In many ways, Toumani did the same, collecting the ball and getting it away from the middle of the pitch to better forward players. But at least he broke opposition attacks down and kept the ball away from them. Perhaps I’ve gone too early on this, but McEachran is looking like yet another overrated player that we’ve paid too much for and does not live up to the hype. And this, by extension, is why I won’t put too much stock into Hogan’s return just yet. It’s fantastic to see him back, but he’s come from the same scouting system that brought us a variety of other damp squibs, so Hogan’s a wait and see for me. In his favour, at least he knows the English game well and has experienced the rough and tumble of League One, but he’s been out of competitive football for a long time with a potentially career ending injury and, the way this squad’s being managed at the moment, ploughing a lone furrow in the distance probably awaits.

    Was suspending management favourite John Swift yesterday a decision that cut off the team’s nose to spite its face? As Smith said, the player was named on the bench and was immediately remorseful and apologised after the event, so why suspend him when times are this hard? It was an ill-thought-out post on the internet by a 20-year-old. I don’t rate Swift based on his overall game and fear we’ll sign him based on his goal contribution rather than looking at the zero on-pitch improvement since he’s been with us. For me, he isn’t a natural winger, does too much running down blind alleys instead of releasing a pass, and doesn’t track back, which means Bidwell’s exposed almost constantly. But having him in the squad would at least have been an option yesterday. The rest of the squad showed enough willing that Swift probably shouldn’t get a start against Forest, but we’ll see.

    On to options, then. Dean Smith has at his disposal the most fit players Brentford have had at any point this season. So why aren’t they being used appropriately? The shining light of this season in terms of a player showing he was ready and willing was Josh Clarke. I don’t believe his attempted use as a direct replacement for Moses Odubajo was the correct one but it was necessary at the time. He made a few defensive mistakes in his time on the pitch, but that’s to be expected for a young player coming into the division, and when he went on forays higher up the park, he was full of energy and eager to track back and recover the ball. Now that Nico Yennaris has taken advantage of the situation and made right back his own, I see Clarke as the rapid right-sided forward who can largely fill in where Jota left off and turn slow Championship defenders. But he seems to have been left out in the cold for reasons only known to our coaching team, warming the bench but not making an appearance. Other attacking players strangely absent are Gogia (apparently effective in the dev squad) and Udumaga (dumped back into the dev squad despite having been waved at the first team and sent out on loan to Wycombe). Why? If they’re on the fringe of the squad but not quite ready, why aren’t they out on loan for a further month to get up to speed instead of running rings around other teams’ kids?

    This squad was allegedly built on a 4-3-3 system. Thanks to various injuries and lack of imagination in the coaching staff, that degraded into a 4-5-1. The country’s best centre forwards would struggle against the Championship’s generally huge centre backs when asked to do something with a high ball with 40 yards between them and their nearest teammate. But forward players are now fit and are still not being utilised appropriately. Will we ever see three on the pitch together? Will we even see two except when desperately trying to avert yet another disaster? And, for me, this all comes back to two things: the coaching staff and the directors of football. Neither party seems willing to shake things up and the same mistakes are repeated every match day. I worry for the club if Dean Smith is still here in August because we’ll be back into the cycle of sacking a manager and searching desperately for a replacement mid-season, leading to yet more bad PR on a national scale. As for our directors of football, Phil Gyles has been up front about his background and limitations in the role, and fair play to him for that. He seems to have his role defined and knowledge of where he needs to improve. As for Rasmus Ankersen, now that Midtjylland aren’t competing in the Europa League and don’t need as much attention, where is he? He turned from big Brentford promoter into the invisible man once things went sour, with FCM a convenient distraction. Has Matthew Benham been mugged off by a man who talks a good one but ultimately doesn’t produce? Or does Rasmus actually have the trousers to match? Gyles and Benham have bravely faced the cameras and talked well on the club’s direction. Perhaps Ankersen could at least pretend he’s still doing the job.

    Thanks for reading.

    (Shot statistics taken from whoscored.com and footstats.co.uk)

  7. Shrill Sven March 20, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Once again the negativity from the so-called fans caused yesterdays defeat look what happened with Swifty and then the whole place is a morgue even though we dominated the whole match and should of won the team deserved better but at the end of the game only a handful of fans thought of applauding the team despite there 110% effort and of course the usual suspects boo they should be ashamed.

    • RebelBee March 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

      Blimey tell me this was tongue in cheek mate – please?

      Our support (of all viewpoints) gave it a go yesterday – despite the very poor performance served up. Whatever our fate is to be this year it is barking to put it on the shoulders of Brentford fans, most of whom are simply bewildered by what has gone on.

  8. Nigel Garrigan March 20, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    “Once again the negativity from so-called fans caused yesterday’s defeat” AMAZING, this is clearly where those idiots Giles and Ankersen have been going wrong, they’ve not been recruiting the right type of supporter, who needs a competent Centre Forward when you can have a shed load brain washed clowns on the terrace who cheer to order and gape in awe at our esteemed benefactor to get you 3 points. I’ll say it yet again – being a realist does not make you a disloyal supporter, I’m an ST holder I’ve been standing on the terraces at GP since 1964, I’ve never jeered the team , but somehow this shambles is my fault! I suggest you take a long holiday in Denmark with a flaccid dreamer, a geek and an egotist.

  9. Shrill Sven March 20, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    Ive just come back from the church of Saint matthew we were meant to be having this guest Scandinavian preacher their today hes meant to be great at motivating people but some say his recruits are a bit dodgy anyway he didnt turn up as it seems he had more pressing engagements over there I am gutted about this even so I think I might have retaken the lead 2-1 to me.

    • Nigel Garrigan March 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

      Clearly a disciple of St Matthew, where delusional wins rule.

      • Bored with Reading Drivel March 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

        You’re a bit of an arsehole aren’t you Nigel?

      • nickbruzon March 22, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

        Apologies for the foul language directed at you Nigel. There’s nothing like petty insults from a coward too scared to use his/her real name to know you have made a valid point.

  10. Roderic March 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    I predicted this outcome, in numerous posts, long ago; Benham is responsible for the whole mess, as he dismantled the brilliant set-up of last season, for reasons known to himself and he pays the piper and calls the tune. He appointed the Dutch bloke, the Danes, the lacking foreign players, press ganged the Youth Coach [one of the few heroes of the season] and thus ultimately lost him to the club, now, well meaning, but at-sea Smith; anyone troubling to look at his record, would not have expected a charge up the table; his best achievement, is avoiding a relegation, but his results form has always been patchy, generally. There are some weak teams in the run-in, so maybe a point or two is possible; thank Carsely for survival and the response of the players during that good run; but at the end of this season, one way or another, Benham must be seriously questioned regarding his club policy and not given a Val Doonigan slipper and pipe ride as per the Besotted interview; if his policies are harming the club on the pitch, he must be forced to reconsider and get reprogrammed.

  11. Laurence March 20, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

    Lee did a job with mostly the same resources. Smith is not capable of either resolving where we are or turning it around. Invariably in life one get elevated beyond their capabilities. I believe we’re way beyond. Watch the man on the touchline and read his drivel failure after failure. Give the final few games to the tea lady to organise and manage – she can’t do any worse. As for the owner you reap what you sow. Chickens have come back to roost. I used to talk in clichés but that’s all water under the bridge. In any other walk of life you expect value for money. If you have a bad meal you don’t pay. If the heal falls off your new shoes you take them back for a refund. As a disaffected season ticket holder how do I seek recourse for what by the managers own admissions are unacceptable performances time after time after time.

  12. John March 21, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Until the farce of Lionel Road is sorted, let’s face it, the club is stuffed. When is this going to be sorted….anybody know?

    • Roderic March 21, 2016 at 9:44 am #

      Benham

    • Laurence March 21, 2016 at 10:44 am #

      …and there you have it? A (much delayed?) real estate transaction rather than a football club investment? I wonder whether the ownership of the site has been consolidated yet? There’s lots of non descript news on the club website but not much of any substance?

  13. Lew Holmes March 21, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    “And this, by extension, is why I won’t put too much stock into Hogan’s return just yet. It’s fantastic to see him back, but he’s come from the same scouting system that brought us a variety of other damp squibs, so Hogan’s a wait and see for me.”

    While I don’t have any issue with the bulk of your post, NRC (totally agree on McEchran, for example) I have to disagree on the point above. Hogan was signed at the same time as Gray, Moses and Alan Judge (permanently as opposed to on loan). Andre Gray was originally intended to be his back up.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/28524930.app

    The scouting system that has bought in so many ‘damp squibs’ is exactly the same one that sourced very exciting players not so long ago. There’s clearly some overlap between McPartland and two-headed DoF monster, and I’d be wary of losing site of the bigger picture. Minor quibble though, as I say.

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